With LB Quincy Williams (ankle) out of the lineup, Kwon Alexander and Marcell Harris are the next men up in their first season with the Jets.
"Obviously, Quincy has tremendous speed, that's hard to replicate," DC Jeff Ulbrich said. "But Kwon brings a different level of experience and communication and a guy that's just got more years doing it. Both bring tremendous value, but Kwon will bring something unique and special, too, so, excited for him to get his opportunity to start here and play more."
Alexander's calling cards have been big hits and "infectious energy" as HC Robert Saleh said after Alexander signed in July.
"I approach it like life -- I just go out and have fun," Alexander said. "These guys are getting it now, they're having fun, getting takeaways. Everything is coming together. We have a new team, so we have to build the chemistry and get to know all the guys. Everything is going legendary and we're going to do well this weekend."
Alexander and Harris, who signed in March, both have familiarity with Ulbrich's system. Alexander played with the 49ers as a part of their Super Bowl run in 2019 and was traded to the Saints midway through the 2020 season. Harris spent the first four seasons of his career in San Francisco after he was drafted out of Florida in the sixth round in 2018.
"Coming from safety to linebacker last year, I have started every year I have played in this league for five years, so there is really no fall off," Harris said. "So, when you come in the game, you got to be mentally ready and physically prepared. Whenever one of our guys comes in you got to be ready to go and make your plays."
The Steel City 'Badass'
The Jets' offense will challenge an impressive Steelers defense on Sunday, led by All-Pro S Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Alabama product has 24 tackles, 2 interceptions and a pick-six this season, and Saleh had a choice word to describe him Friday.
"He is a phenomenal football player," he said. "Very instinctive. He's not undisciplined and in any sense of the imagination, but sometimes he's not going to do his job because he knows where the play is going. So, he's going to do a little bit more. He's a badass, let's put it that way. It's going to be a great challenge for the offense."
See the top practice images leading up to the Week 4 matchup against the Steelers.
Reed-Johnson Pt. 2
The Steelers have a talented receiver corps led by Diontae Johnson, whose 15 games of at least 5 receptions is the longest active streak in the NFL. Jets CB D.J. Reed ranks second in passer rating allowed in single coverage among CBs at 2.9. Last season with the Seahawks, Reed played against the Steelers in Pittsburgh and had 9 tackles and 2 pass defenses.
"Really good receiver, very underrated," Reed said of Johnson. "He gives great work off the line. He's really quick out of his breaks. He does a good job of separating from DBs, so that's going to be a fun matchup.
"I'm going to go back to watch the tape of me playing against him last year because I had some one-on-one reps with Diontae. So just look to see you know what he did, how he won because he won some and I won some going back and forth. I'm looking forward to playing against him."